Picturing America: Photography and the Sense of Place argues that photography is a prevalent practice of making American places. Its collected essays epitomize not only how pictures situate us in a specific place, but also how they create a sense of such mutable place-worlds. Understanding photographs as prime sites of knowledge production and advocates of socio-political transformations, a transnational set of scholars reveals how images enact both our perception and conception of American environments. They investigate the power photography yields in shaping our ideas of self, nation, and empire, of private and public space, through urban, landscape, wasteland and portrait photography. The volume radically reconfigures how pictures alter the development of American places in the past, present, and future.
Opera and the Novel: The Case of Henry James offers the first full-length study of the theory and practice of the adaptation of fiction into opera: the transference of a work from one medium to another –
metaphrasis – is its point of departure. Starting with a survey of the current thinking regarding the nexus between words and music with specific reference to operatic adaptation of existing literary works, it traces the four-hundred-year history of opera, demonstrating that the novel has become increasingly attractive to librettists and composers as an operatic source. As the resources of modern music theatre have increased in sophistication, so too have the possibilities for an expanded engagement with complex fictional works. The intricate relationship between fictional and musical narrative is examined: the proposition that the orchestra assumes much of the function of the narrator in fiction is explored. The second section is a detailed examination of eight operatic works based on Henry James’s fiction. It is opera’s unique capability to present the intense emotional and psychological situations central to James’s fiction as well as the ability to engage with his synthesis of melodrama and psychological ambiguity which makes James’s work peculiarly amenable to operatic adaptation. Composers who have used James as a source include Douglas Moore, Benjamin Britten, Thomas Pasatieri, Donald Hollier, Thea Musgrave, Philip Hagemann and Dominick Argento. The operas discussed represent a contemporary critical and often self-conscious engagement with the art form itself as well as illustrating current adaptive strategies, and suggest ways in which new operatic paths may be forged. This volume is of relevance to students and scholars of English literature and opera as well as readers who take an interest in intermedial research and the question of adaptation in general.
The volume is dedicated to the memory of the late Calvin S. Brown of the University of Georgia, author of the first systematically conceived survey - Music and Literature: A Comparison of the Arts (1948) - of the branch of interart studies now generally known as Melopoetics. Part One consists of six original contributions by experts from Austria, Belgium, France, and the United States. Authored by a novelist and a composer/scholar, respectively, the first two essays - Jean Libis's “Inspiration musicale et composition littéraire: Réflexions sur un roman schubertien” and David M. Hertz's “The Composer's Musico-Literary Experience: Reflections on Song Writing” - focus, not surprisingly, on the creative process. The third piece - Francis' Claudon's review of the pertinent research done between 1970 and 1990 - complements the honoree's analogous report on the preceding decades, reprinted in the present volume, whereas the fourth - Jean-Louis Cupers' “Métaphores de l'écho et de l'ombre: Regards sur l'évolution des études musico-littéraires” - surveys the plethora of metaphorical applications, in music and literature, of two significant natural phenomena, the one acoustic and the other optical. Linked to each other, the two remaining papers - Ulrich Weisstein's ”The Miracle of Interconnectedness: Calvin S. Brown, a Critical Biography” and Walter Bernhart's “A Profile in Retrospect: Calvin S. Brown as a Musico-Literary Scholar” - offer critical accounts of the honoree's theoretical and methodological stance as viewed, in the first case, from a biographical angle and, in the second, in the light of subsequent scholarly practice.
Part Two bundles eleven of Professor Brown's previously uncollected articles, covering a period of nearly half a century of significant scholarly activity in the field. The selection demonstrates Brown's poignant interest in transpositions d'art exemplifying the “musicalization” of literature in the formal and structural, rather than thematic, domain as culminating in his trenchant critique of “music in poetry” as understood, somewhat naïvely, by Mallarmé and his critics, and, to a slightly lesser extent, by his translation of Josef Weinhebers' variations on Friedrich Hölderlin's ode “An die Parzen”. Just as Professor Brown's successive anatomies of melopoetic theory and practice illustrate his steadily growing sophistication and the maturing of his mind, so his Bloomington lecture “The Writing and Reading of Language and Music: Thoughts on Some Parallels Between two Artistic Media” reflects his unique ability to assemble, and organize, vast materials and comprehensive data in such a way as to reveal the underlying pattern.
Mesoamerican Manuscripts: New Scientific Approaches and Interpretations brings together a wide range of modern approaches to the study of pre-colonial and early colonial Mesoamerican manuscripts. This includes innovative studies of materiality through the application of non-invasive spectroscopy and imaging techniques, as well as new insights into the meaning of these manuscripts and related visual art, stemming from a post-colonial indigenous perspective.
This cross- and interdisciplinary work shows on the one hand the value of collaboration of specialists in different field, but also the multiple viewpoints that are possible when these types of complex cultural expressions are approached from varied cultural and scientific backgrounds.
Contributors are: Omar Aguilar Sánchez, Paul van den Akker, Maria Isabel Álvarez Icaza Longoria, Frances F. Berdan, David Buti, Laura Cartechini, Davide Domenici, Laura Filloy Nadal, Alessia Frassani, Francesca Gabrieli, Maarten E.R.G.N. Jansen, Rosemary A. Joyce, Jorge Gómez Tejada, Chiara Grazia, David Howell, Virginia M. Lladó-Buisán, Leonardo López Luján, Raul Macuil Martínez, Manuel May Castillo, Costanza Miliani, María Olvido Moreno Guzmán, Gabina Aurora Pérez Jiménez, Araceli Rojas, Aldo Romani, Francesca Rosi, Antonio Sgamellotti, Ludo Snijders, and Tim Zaman.